Hanukkah starts this Friday at sundown. While living in Boston I resided in a area of the city with a large population of Jewish folks. So to say the least, I became fascinated with Jewish cooking and holiday celebrations. I bought a kosher cookbook, read Leviticus and studied Jewish dietary law. (I was in a food studies program so this sort of obsessive interest is justified, right?). I made a sponge cake for Passover. I ordered off the Rosh Hashanah menu from Whole Foods - which was just around the corner from my apartment (walking distance - excitement!). Most notably, I discovered one of my favorite restaurants - a Jewish delicatessen called Zaftigs in Brookline, Mass. This spot has an excellent brunch selection which I frequented while living there.
I now live over 5 hours driving time from the haven of my mid-20s, so I have expanded my repertoire of Jewish-inspired recipes. Potato latkes are a favorite. This is my version made with sweet potatoes. If you do not have a food processor to grate the sweet potatoes and onions, you could use a box grater.
2 large sweet potatoes
1 yellow onion
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil, for frying
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes and onion into pieces just small enough to fit through the feeding tube of your food processor. With the grating attachment in place, push the peeled sweet potato and onion through the feeding tube to grate. Allow the grated mixture to drain in a colander while preparing the coating.
In a large bowl combine the eggs, flour and seasonings. Add the grated sweet potato and onion; stir to coat.
In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup oil over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. To test: Drop one shred of sweet potato into the oil; if the oil sizzles immediately around the shred it is ready to fry the latkes. Work in batches of 6-7 latkes. Add additional oil between batches if needed.
Using an ice cream scoop, dollop the sweet potato mixture into the hot skillet. Use the back of a spoon to gently flatten and shape the latkes into rounds. Cook for 3 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Watch closely as these will burn easily. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
For the dill cream: Combine sour cream and dill. Dollop a small amount on each fried latke before serving.
Makes about 20.
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